As a kid, having a sleepover or going to a sleepover is one of the most exciting parts of childhood. They experience a range of emotions when they’re invited, ranging from excitement about seeing their friends to nervousness about spending time away from home. As sleepover hosts, parents are the ones who have the power to turn this trepidation into excitement, making it a special night for both their own kids and for those in attendance.
But there is a lot to consider when you’re hosting a sleepover. For example, younger kids have to be entertained, and you’ll need to plan some activities so they don’t get bored. In addition, some of the kids might have food allergies, meaning you have to be extra careful about what you serve. But there’s no need to worry. A little preparation and communication can go a long way in making sure you have all the food and snacks they need and give the kids an epic night to remember.
As with anything, proper planning can go a long way in ensuring your sleepover goes without a hitch. While some sleepovers are a bit impromptu, those are often with just one or two kids who don’t expect much. During those instances, they simply want to spend time with each other and hang out at their friend’s home. However, if you’re throwing a proper sleepover with more than one guest, you should allow enough time for parents to RSVP as well as for you to plan.
Communication with the parents will be key here, as you need the adults to relay the correct information in regard to addresses, time of arrival, and food allergies. Take the reins and contact the parents yourself, explaining the date, time, address, and reason for the sleepover (e.g., birthday). When doing this, also ask the parents if their child has any food allergies to be aware of. If they answer “yes,” take the time to ask the parent what food alternatives are acceptable for their child. Don’t forget to remind them to bring their children’s sleeping bags and pillows as well.
Since sleepovers last hours longer than regular playdates, you’ll want to make sure the kids have enough things to keep them occupied. This prevents them from getting into trouble or constantly saying they’re bored. One activity that kills two birds with one stone is to have them make their own snacks. For example, you could make and decorate cupcakes together.
Alternatively, you could just do the regular popcorn, chips, and candy spread and choose a craft to do as a group There are lots of age-appropriate craft ideas available on the internet, and even some really inexpensive craft kits that come with everything they need, such as make-your-own kids' headband kit, which is a popular option for girls and available at most craft stores.
If there’s any food that is the quintessential party menu, it would be pizza. Don’t be afraid to call it in — literally! — and get it delivered. But considering how easy it is to make pizza and how inexpensive the ingredients are when compared to delivery, you may as well make it yourself. Include the kids in the activity, giving every child a chance to make their own personal pizza. This allows them to put on only the toppings they like, and small sizes ensure you can get more in the oven at once.
Another fun thing to do to get them out of the house is to have a camping theme where they cook their meal over a fire. Using pudgie-pie makers, for example, is a fun way to make stuffed grilled cheese sandwiches. Or they can keep it simple and grill hot dogs on a stick. Send out a camping-themed invitation with these details in advance so they can dress appropriately in kids' sweatshirts if the weather is chilly at nighttime. Be sure to have some throw blankets on hand just in case!
One thing a lot of parents forget about after a long night with a bunch of kids in their house is breakfast. Sure, you can make it easy and just pick up donuts, but that’s not as fun. You can either make your own or buy some plain donuts at the grocery store the day before to decorate the morning after the sleepover. Kids will love dipping their donuts into melted chocolate or frosting and then putting different types of toppings on it, like sprinkles or crushed cookies.
With a little planning, you can ensure your kids have a memorable sleepover with the perfect food to go along with it.